Dear Harp of my Country

Melody - "New Langolee"

Thomas Moore, from Irish Melodies, vol. 6

Dear Harp of my Country! in darkness I found thee,
The cold chain of Silence had hung o'er thee long.*
When proudly, my own Island Harp, I unbound thee,
And gave all thy chords to light, freedom, and song.
The warm lay of love and the light note of gladness
Have waken'd thy fondest, thy livliest thrill,
But, so oft hast thou echoed the deep sigh of sadness,
That even in thy mirth it will steal from thee still.

2. Dear Harp of my country! farewell to thy numbers,
This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine!
Go, sleep with the sunshine of Fame on thy slumbers,
Till touch'd by some hand less unworthy than mine.
If the pulse of the patriot, soldier, or lover,
Have throbb'd at our lay, 'tis thy glory alone;
I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over,
And all the wild sweetness I waked was thy own.

* In that rebellious but beautiful song, "When Erin first rose," there is, if I recollect right, the following line,

"The dark chain of silence was thrown o'er the deep."

The chain of Silence was a sort of practical figure or rhetoric among the ancient Irish. Walker tells us of "a celebrated contention for precedence between Finn and Gaul, near Gaul's palace at Ahnhaim, where the attending Bards, anxious, if possible, to produce a cessation of hostilities, shook the chain of silence, and flung themselves among the ranks." See also the Ode to Gaul, the son of Morni in Miss Brooke's Reliques of Irish Poetry. - from Irish Melodies.